Author(s): Janet Frame
Extending from World War I to an imagined twenty-first century, Intensive Care (first published in 1970) highlights the appalling treatment of the physically and mentally sick. Tom Livingstone, young and wounded in the trenches of Flanders, must learn the value of life and subsequently the value of death. In a futuristic world, the autistic Milly Galbraith has been deemed substandard and faces elimination. In this hypnotic novel, Janet Frame explores the harshness of humankind and makes a plea for us to restore humanity. Having touched on the reality of death in Intensive Care, Frame's next novel, Daughter Buffalo (published in 1972), gives the theme centre-stage. Dr Talbot Edelman is obsessed with it, making his speciality Death Studies and experimenting on his pet dog. In the streets of New York, he meets up with an old poet, Turnlung, who fearlessly contemplates his own death. Visiting Central Park Zoo together, they see a baby buffalo, a daughter Turnlung is keen to adopt. This exploration of death becomes a fascinating and funny novel that revels in the linked mysteries of language and life. First published 1970 & 1972. This collection 2008.
Janet Frame was born in Dunedin in 1924. She was the author of eleven novels, five collections of stories, a volume of poetry and a children's book. She was a Burns Scholar and a Sargeson Fellow and won the New Zealand Scholarship in Letters and the Hubert Church Award for Prose. She was made a CBE in 1983 for services to literature, awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Otago University in 1978, and one from Waikato University in 1992. She received New Zealand's highest civil honour in 1990 when she was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand. Janet Frame died in January 2004.